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Friday, June 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Jude 1

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Verse 1

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

Servant of Jesus Christ - as His minister and apostle.

Brother of James - more widely known as Bishop of Jerusalem and "brother of the Lord" (i:e., either cousin, or stepbrother, being son of Joseph by a former marriage. Ancient traditions universally agree that Mary, Jesus' mother, continued perpetually a virgin). Jude therefore calls himself modestly "brother of James." See 'Introduction.'

To them ... sanctified by (in) God the Father. A B 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, Origen, Lucifer, read [ eegapeemenois (G25)] 'beloved,' for sanctified. If the English version be read, cf. Colossians 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2. [ En (G1722).] Not "by," but 'in.' The Father's love is the element IN which they are 'beloved.' The conclusion, Jude 1:21, corresponds: "Keep yourselves in the love of God" cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:13).

Preserved in - `kept.' Not "in," but as Greek, 'FOR Jesus Christ.' 'Kept continually' (so the perfect means) 'by God the Father for Jesus Christ,' against the day of His coming. Jude, beforehand, mentions the source and guarantee for the final accomplishment of believers' salvation, lest they should be disheartened by the evils which he announces (Bengel).

And called - predicated of 'them that are beloved in God the Father, and preserved for Jesus Christ: who are called.' God's effectual calling, in exercise of His divine prerogative, guarantees their eternal safety.

Verse 2

Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

Mercy - in a time of wretchedness. Therefore mercy stands first: of Christ (Jude 1:21).

Peace - in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20).

Love - of God (Jude 1:21). The three answer to the Trinity.

Be multiplied - in and toward you.

Verse 3

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Design of the letter (cf. Jude 1:20-21).

All diligence - (2 Peter 1:5.) As the minister is to give all diligence to admonish, so the people should give all diligence to have all Christian graces, and make their calling sure.

The common salvation - wrought by Christ. Note, "LIKE precious faith," 2 Peter 1:1. This community of faith, and of its object, salvation, forms the ground of appeals to common hopes and fears.

It was needful for me, [ anangkeen (G318) eschon (G2192) grapsai (G1125)] - 'I felt it necessary to write (at once: aorist: the preceding present infinitive, "to write" [ grafein (G1125)], expresses writing generally), exhorting you.' The reason why he felt it necessary 'to write with exhortation,' he states, Jude 1:4, "For there are certain men crept in," etc. Having intended to write generally of the common salvation, he found it necessary, from existing evils, to write specially, that they should contend for the faith against those evils.

Earnestly contend - (cf. Philippians 1:27.)

Once, [ hapax (G530)] - 'once for all delivered,' etc. No other faith is to supersede it. A strong argument for resisting heretical innovators (Jude 1:4). Believers, like Nehemiah's workmen, with one hand "build themselves up in their most holy faith," with the other "contend earnestly for the faith" against its foes.

The saints - all Christians, holy, i:e., consecrated to God, by their calling, in God's design.

Verse 4

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Certain men - disparagement.

Crept in unawares - stealthily, (note, 2 Peter 2:1, "privily," etc.) Before ... ordained - `fore-written;' namely, in Peter's prophecy (Jude 1:17-18), and in Paul's (1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1), and by implication in the judgments upon apostate angels, the disobedient Israelites, Sodom and Gomorrha, Balaam and Core-all written "for an example" (Jude 1:7 and Jude 1:5-6; Jude 1:11). God's eternal character as Punisher of sin, set forth in Scripture "of old," is the ground on which such apostate characters are ordained to condemnation. Scripture reflects God's "book of life" in which believers are "written among the living" (Isaiah 4:3; Philippians 4:3). 'Fore-written' is applied also, in Romans 15:4, to the things in Scripture. Scripture mirrors forth God's character from everlasting-the ground of His decrees from everlasting. Bengel makes it abbreviated for, 'They were of old foretold by Enoch (Jude 1:14, who did not write), and afterward noted by the written Word.'

To this condemnation. Jude graphically puts their judgment before the eyes, "THIS." Enoch's prophecy comprises the "ungodly" of the last days before Christ's second coming, as well as their forerunners, the "ungodly men" before the flood-the type of the last judgment (Matthew 24:37-39; 2 Peter 3:3-7). The disposition and the doom of both correspond.

The grace of our God - a phrase for the Gospel, especially sweet to believers who appropriate God in Christ as "our God;" so rendering the more odious the perversity of those who turn Gospel grace into a ground of licentiousness, as if exemption from the law gave a license to sin.

Denying the only Lord God. 'Aleph (') A B C omit "God." [ Ton (G3588) monon (G3441) despoteen (G1203), kai (G2532) Kurion (G2962), 'the only Master;' here, Jesus Christ, who is at once 'Master' and "Lord."] So 2 Peter 2:1, note. By virtue of Christ's oneness with the Father, He also is termed "the ONLY" God and 'MASTER.' 'Master' implies God's absolute ownership, to dispose of His creatures as He likes.

Verse 5

I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

(Hebrews 3:16-19; Hebrews 4:1-13.)

Therefore. [ Oun (G3767), C, Lucifer; but A B, Vulgate, read, 'but:' in contrast to the ungodly, Jude 1:4.]

Though ye once - `I wish to remind you, as knowing ALL (namely, that I am referring to. So 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate, Coptic) once for all' [ hapax (G530)]. As already they know all the facts, he needs only to 'remind' them.

The Lord. So 'Aleph ('); but A B, Vulgate, read, 'Jesus,' the true Joshua, God-Saviour. So "Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:4) accompanied the Israelites in the wilderness: "Jesus" is one with the Divine Angel of the covenant (Exodus 23:20-23; Exodus 32:34; Exodus 33:2; Exodus 33:14), the God of the Israelite theocracy.

Saved - brought into a state of safety. Afterward, [ to (G3588) deuteron (G1208)] - 'secondly, destroyed them that believed not:' contrasted with His in the first instance having saved them (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27).

Verse 6

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

(2 Peter 2:4.)

Kept not their first estate. Vulgate [ heauton (G1438) archeen (G746)], 'their own principality,' which the fact of angels being elsewhere called "principalities" favours: 'their own' implies that, not content with the dignity once for all assigned to them under the Son of God, they aspired higher. Alford thinks Genesis 6:2 is alluded to; not the fall of the devil and his angels, as he thinks "giving themselves over to fornication" (Jude

7) proves. [Compare ton (G3588) homoion (G3664) tropon (G5158) toutois (G5125), 'in like manner to these'-namely, to the angels (Jude 1:6).] It is more natural to take "sons of God" (Genesis 6:2) of the Sethites, than of angels, who, as 'spirits,' do not seem capable of carnal connection. The parallel, 2 Peter 2:4, plainly refers to the fall of the apostate angels. 'In like manner to these,' Jude 1:7, refers to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrha, "the cities about them" sinning "in like manner" as they did (Estius). Even if 'these,' Jude 1:7, refer to the angels, 'in like manner as these' will mean, not that the angels carnally fornicated with the daughters of men, but that their ambition, whereby their affections went away from God and they fell, is a sin of like kind spiritually as Sodom's going away from God's order of nature after strange flesh; the sin of the apostate angels after their kind is analogous to that of the Sodomites after their kind. Compare the somewhat similar connection of whoremongers and covetousness (Ephesians 5:5). The apocryphal book of Enoch interprets Genesis 6:2, as Alford. But though Jude accords with it in some particulars, it does not follow that he accords with it in all. The Hebrews name the fallen angels Aza and Azael.

Left - of their own accord.

Their own, [ to (G3588) idion (G2398)] - 'their proper.'

Habitation - Heaven, all bright and glorious, opposed to the "darkness" to which they now are doomed. Their ambitious designs seem to have had a special connection with this earth, of which Satan before his fall was probably God's vicegerent: whence arises his subsequent connection with it as, first, the Tempter, then "the prince of this world."

Reserved. As there is evident reference to their having "kept not their first estate," translate, 'He hath kept' [the same Greek, teteereeken (G5083)]. Retributive justice. He hath kept them in His purpose: that is their sure doom. As yet, Satan and his demons roam at large on the earth. An earnest of their doom is their having been cast out of heaven; already restricted to 'the darkness of this present world,' the 'air' that surrounds the earth, their special element. They lurk in places of gloom, looking forward with agonizing fear to their final torment in the bottomless pit. Not literal chains and darkness, but figurative in this present world, where, with restricted powers and liberties, shut out from heaven, they, like condemned prisoners, await their doom. Even now, as chained dogs, they can go no further than the length of their chain. Everlasting. [Lest any doubt whether aioonios (G166) mean 'eternal,' here aidios (G126), from aei (G104), always is used, which can only mean everlasting.]

Verse 7

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Even as, [ hoos (G5613)]. Alford, '(I wish to remind you, Jude 1:5) that,' etc.

Sodom, etc. - (2 Peter 2:6.)

Giving themselves over to fornication - extraordinarily; i:e., out of the order of nature [ ekporneusasai (G1608)]. On 'in like manner to them,' cf. note, Jude 1:6. Compare, on spiritual fornication, Psalms 73:27, end.

Going after strange flesh, [ apelthousai (G565)] - departing from the course of nature, and going after that which is unnatural. In later times most enlightened pagans indulged in the sin of Sodom without compunction.

Are set forth - before our eyes.

Suffering - to this present time lying under the ashes of volcanic fires at the Dead sea.

The vengeance, [ dikeen (G1349)] - 'righteous retribution.'

Eternal fire - the lasting marks of the fire that consumed the cities irreparably is a type of the eternal fire to which the inhabitants have been consigned. Bengel translates, 'Suffering (the) punishment (which they endure) as a sample of the eternal fire which shall consume the wicked.' Ezekiel 16:53-55, shows that Sodom's punishment, as a nation, is not eternal.

Verse 8

Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

Also, [ homioos (G3668) mentoi (G3305)] - 'in like manner nevertheless' (notwithstanding these warning examples) (Alford). These filthy dreamers. The Greek has not "filthy." The clause, 'these men in their dreamings' belongs to all the verbs, "defile," etc.; "despise," etc.; "speak evil," etc. All sinners are spiritually asleep; their carnal activity is as it were a dream (1 Thessalonians 5:6-7). Their speaking evil of dignities is because they are dreaming, and know not what they are speaking evil of (Jude 1:10). 'As a man dreaming thinks he is seeing and hearing many things, so the natural man's lusts are agitated by joy, distress, fear, and other passions. But he knows not self-command. Hence, though he bring into play all the powers of reason, he cannot conceive the true liberty which the sons of light, who are awake and in the daylight, enjoy' (Bengel).

Defile the flesh - (Jude 1:7.)

Dominion - `lordship.'

Dignities - `glories.' Earthly and heavenly.

Verse 9

Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

Michael the archangel - nowhere in Scripture plural, 'archangels;' but ONE, "archangel." The only other New Testament passage where it occurs is 1 Thessalonians 4:16, where Christ is distinguished from the archangel, with whose voice He shall descend to raise the dead: therefore Christ is not Michael. The name means, Who is like God. In Daniel 10:13, he is called "One (margin, the first) of the chief princes." He is champion of Israel. In Revelation 12:7, the conflict between Michael and Satan is again alluded to.

Disputed, [ diakrinomenos (G1252)] - debated in controversy, shows it was a judicial contest.

About the body of Moses - his literal body. Satan, having the power of death, opposed the raising of it again (or else its being kept from corruption: cf. Deuteronomy 34:6), on the ground of Moses' sin at Meribah, and his murderer the Egyptian. That Moses' body was raised, appears from his presence with Elijah and Jesus (who were in the body) at the transfiguration: the sample and earnest of the coming resurrection-kingdom, to be ushered in by Michael's standing up for God's people (Daniel 12:1-2). Thus in each dispensation a pledge of the future resurrection was given: Enoch in the patriarchal dispensation, Moses in the Levitical, Elijah in the prophetic, Jesus, the first-fruits, in the Christian. It is noteworthy that the same rebuke was used by the Angel of the Lord, or Yahweh the Second Person, in pleading for Joshua, the representative of the Jewish church, against Satan, in Zechariah 3:2; whence some think that also here "the body of Moses" means the Jewish church accused by Satan, before God, for its filthiness; on which ground he demands that divine justice should take its course against Israel, but is rebuked by the Lord, who has 'chosen Jerusalem:' thus, as "the body of Christ" is the Christian church, so "the body of Moses" is the Jewish church.

But the literal body is here meant (though, secondarily, the Jewish church is typified by Moses' body, as it was there represented by Joshua the High Priest); and Michael, whose connection is so close with Yahweh-Messiah, and with Israel, naturally uses the same language as his Lord. As Satan (adversary in court) or the Devil (accuser) accuses the Church collectively, and 'the brethren' individually, so Christ pleads for us as our Advocate (1 John 2:1). Israel's, and all believers' full justification, and the accuser's being 'rebuked' finally, is yet future. Josephus (Antiquities, 4: 8) states that God hid Moses' body, lest, if exposed to view, it should have been idolized. Jude adopts this account from the apocryphal 'assumption of Moses' (as Origen, concerning 'Principalities,' 3: 2, thinks), or else from the ancient tradition on which that work was founded. Jude, as inspired, could distinguish how much of the tradition was true, how much false. We have no such means of distinguishing, therefore can be sure of no tradition, except that which is in the written Word.

Durst not - from reverence for Satan's former dignity (Jude 1:8).

Railing accusation, [ krisin (G2920) blasfeemias (G988)] - 'judgment of blasphemy,' evil speaking. Peter said, angels do not, to avenge themselves, rail at dignities, though ungodly, when they have to contend with them: Jude says, that the archangel Michael himself did not rail even when he fought with the Devil, the prince of evil spirits-not from fear of him, but reverence of God, whose delegated power in this world Satan once had, and even in some degree still has.

Verse 10

But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

Those things which, [ hosa (G3745)] - 'as many things soever as they understand not,' namely, things of the spiritual world. See 2 Peter 2:12.

But what they know naturally. Connect, 'as many things as naturally (by blind instinct) as the unreasoning [ aloga (G249)] animals, they know,' etc. The former "know" [ oidasin (G1492)] implies deeper knowledge; the latter "know" [ epistantai (G1987)], perception by the 'animal senses and faculties.'

Verse 11

Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

Woe. Note, 2 Peter 2:14, "cursed children."

Cain - the murderer: the root of whose sin was hatred and envy of the godly; the sin of these seducers.

Ran greedily, [ exechutheesan (G1632)] - 'have been poured forth' like a torrent bursting its banks. Reckless of the cost, the loss of God's favour and heaven, on they rush after gain like Balaam. Perished in the gainsaying of Core - (note, Jude 1:12.) In reading of Korah perishing by gainsaying, we read also of these perishing through the same: for the same seed bears the same harvest.

Verse 12

These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

Spots. So 2 Peter 2:13 [spiloi; here, spiladees (G4694), which, in secular writers, means rocks, namely, on which the Christian love-feasts were in danger of shipwreck]. A B C read [ hoi (G3588)] emphatically, 'THE rocks.' The reference to "clouds ... winds ... waves," accords with rocks. Vulgate, misled by the similar word, translates, "spots." Compare, however, Jude 1:23, which favours the English version. A C, to make Jude say the same as Peter, read, 'deceivings' [ apatais (G539)] for 'love-feasts' [ agapais (G26)]; but 'Aleph (') B, Vulgate, support 'love-feasts.' The love-feast accompanied the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:1-34, end). Korah the Levite, not satisfied with his ministry, aspired to the sacrificing priesthood also: so ministers in the Lord's Supper, seeking to make it a sacrifice, and themselves sacrificing priests, usurp the function of our only Christian sacerdotal Priest, Christ Jesus. Let them beware of Korah's doom!

Feeding themselves, [ poimainontes (G4165)] - 'pasturing themselves.' What they look to is tending themselves, not the flock: they are 'pastors,' but it is to "themselves."

Without fear. Join, not as the English version, but with 'feast.' Sacred feasts especially ought to be celebrated with fear. Feasting is not faulty in itself (Bengel), but needs to be accompanied with fear of forgetting God, as Job (Jude 1:5) in his sons' feasts.

Clouds - from which one would expect refreshing rain; but "without water" (2 Peter 2:17): professors without practice.

Carried about. So Vulgate, probably from Ephesians 4:14; but 'Aleph (') A B C [ paraferomenai (G3911)], 'carried aside;' i:e., out of the right course.

Trees whose fruit withereth, [ fthinopoorina (G5352)] - 'trees of the late (waning) autumn,' namely, when there are no longer leaves or fruits on the trees (Bengel), etc.

Without fruit - without good fruit of knowledge and practice; sometimes what is positively bad.

Twice dead - first, when they cast their leaves in autumn, and seem during winter dead, but revive again in spring; secondly, when they are "plucked up by the roots." So these apostates, once dead in unbelief, then, in respect to profession, raised from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, but now having become dead again by apostasy, so hopelessly dead. A climax. Not only without leaves, like trees in late autumn, but without fruit; not only so, but dead twice; to crown all, "plucked up by the roots."

Verse 13

Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

Raging - wild. Jude has in mind Isaiah 57:20.

Shame, [ aischunas (G152)] - plural, 'shames' (cf. Philippians 3:19).

Wandering stars - instead of moving on in a regular orbit, as lights to the world, bursting forth like erratic comets, or rather fiery meteors, with a strange glare, then doomed to fall back again into black gloom.

Verse 14

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

See 'Introduction,' on the source whence Jude derived this prophecy. The Holy Spirit, by Jude, sealed the truth of this much of the matter in the book of Enoch, though probably that book, as well as Jude, derived it from tradition (cf. note, Jude 1:9). So facts unrecorded in the Old Testament are referred to by Paul, 2 Timothy 3:8; Galatians 3:19; Hebrews 11:24. There are reasons for thinking the book of Enoch, in the form now extant, copied from Jude, rather than vice versa. From the first, prophecy hastened toward its consummation. The earliest prophecies of the Redeemer dwell on His second coming in glory, rather than His first coming in lowliness (cf. Genesis 3:15, with Romans 16:20). Enoch, in his translation without death, illustrated that which he all his life preached to the unbelieving world-the Lord's certain coming, and the resurrection of the dead-as the antidote to their sceptical, self-wise confidence in nature's permanence.

And, [ de (G1161) kai (G2532)] - 'Moreover, also Enoch,' etc.

Seventh from Adam. Jude intimates the earliness of the prophecy. In Enoch, freedom from death and the sacred number are combined; for every seventh object is most valued. Note, "of old," Jude 1:4. There were only five fathers between Enoch and Adam. The seventh from Adam prophesied the things which shall close the seventh age of the world (Bengel).

Of these - in relation to these. His reference was not to the antediluvians alone, but to all the ungodly (Jude

15). His prophecy applied primarily to the flood, ultimately to the final judgment.

Cometh, [ eelthen (G2064)] - 'came.' Prophecy regards the future as certain as if past. Many harmonize with this the distinct statement that the Lord shall come, and His elect be caught up to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17), by supposing that His coming in the air to take (Zephaniah 2:3) them out of the last tribulation shall precede by some interval His coming with them to Mount Olivet (Zechariah 14:4-5; Revelation 19:14) to save the elect Jews. Compare Isaiah 26:20; Isaiah 61:3; John 14:3; Revelation 3:10. Still, the saints must be for a time in the little horn's hands (Daniel 7:25-27); but the little horn may be Rome; not the last Antichrist. Matthew 24:22-24; Matthew 24:31, refers to the elect Jews (the looking for "Christ" only can apply to the Jews, not to the Gentiles, Jeremiah 30:7). The Jews, like Noah in the deluge, shall be in the tribulation, but saved out of it (Isaiah 55:9). The elect Church, like Enoch, shall be caught up and transfigured before the tribulation (2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; especially Luke 21:28; Luke 21:35-36). The warning to all on the face of the whole earth to watch, for the day is coming "as a snare," would be hardly appropriate, if the Jews' reception of Antichrist were to precede the coming; for then the coming day would be announced by the precursory Antichrist.

Saints - holy angels (cf. Deuteronomy 32:2; Daniel 7:10; Zechariah 14:5; Matthew 25:31).

Verse 15

To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

Enoch's prophecy is in Hebrew poetic parallelism, the oldest specimen extant. Some think Lamech's speech, which is in poetic parallelism, was composed in mockery of Enoch's; as Enoch foretold Yahweh's coming to judgment, so Lamech presumes on impunity in polygamy and murder (as Cain the murderer seemed to escape).

Convince - convict.

Hard speeches - noticed in Jude 1:8; Jude 1:10; Jude 1:16; Malachi 3:13-14: contrast Jude 1:17-18.

Ungodly sinners - not merely sinners, but [ asebeis (G765)] despisers of God: impious.

Against him. They who speak against God's children speak against God Himself.

Verse 16

These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.

Murmurers - muttering complains against God's ordinances and ministers in church and state. Compare Jude 1:8; Jude 1:15.

Complainers - never satisfied with their lot (Numbers 11:1: cf. the penalty, Deuteronomy 28:47-48). Walking after their own lusts - (Jude 1:18.) The secret of murmuring and complaining is the restless insatiability of desires.

Great swelling words - (2 Peter 2:18.)

Men's persons - mere outward rank.

Because of advantage - for the sake of what they gain from them. While they talk great swelling words, they are really mean and fawning toward those of wealth.

Verse 17

But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;

But, beloved - in contrast to those reprobates, Jude 1:20, again.

Remember. His readers had been contemporaries of the apostles: for Peter uses the same formula in reminding the contemporaries of himself and the other apostles.

Spoken before - already before now.

The apostles - Peter (notes, 2 Peter 3:2-3), and Paul before Peter (Acts 20:29; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1). Jude includes himself among the apostles; for in Jude 1:18 he says, "they told YOU," not us [ elegon (G3004)], 'used to tell you.' Jude's readers were contemporaries of the apostles who used to tell them.

Verse 18

How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

Mockers. In 2 Peter 3:3 [ empaiktai (G1703), the same Greek], 'scoffers:' nowhere else in the New Testament. 2 Peter 3:2-3 is referred to: for Jude quotes the very words of Peter as those which the apostles used to speak to his (Jude's) readers.

Walk after their own ungodly lusts - literally, 'according to their own lusts of ungodlinesses.'

Verse 19

These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

These be they - showing their characters are such as Peter and Paul foretold.

Separate themselves - from church communion in its vital reality; outwardly they took part in church ordinances (Jude 1:12). 'Aleph (') A, Vulgate, omit "themselves;" then "separate" means cast-out members of the church by excommunication (Isaiah 65:5; Isaiah 66:5; Luke 6:22; John 9:34; 3 John 1:10). Or else understand "themselves;" which is read in B C. Arrogant setting up of themselves, as having special sanctity, wisdom, and doctrine.

Sensual, [ psuchikoi (G5591)] - 'animal-souled,' opposed to spiritual, 'having the spirit;' translated "the natural man," 1 Corinthians 2:14. In man's threefold nature-body, soul, and spirit-the due state in God's design is, that "the spirit," the recipient of the Holy Spirit uniting man to God, should be first, and should rule the soul, which stands intermediate between the body and spirit; but in the animal, or natural man, the spirit is subservient to the animal-soul, which is earthly in its aims. The 'carnal' sink lower; for in these the flesh, the lowest and corrupt element of man's bodily nature, reigns paramount.

Having not the Spirit. In the animal or natural man, the spirit, his higher part, which ought to be the seat of the Holy Spirit, is not so; therefore, his spirit not being in its normal state, he is said not to have the spirit (cf. John 3:5-6). In completed redemption the parts of redeemed man shall be in their due relation; in the ungodly, the soul, severed from the spirit, shall have forever animal life, without union to God and heaven-a living death.

Verse 20

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

Resuming Jude 1:17.

Building up yourselves - opposite to "separate themselves" (Jude 1:19); as "in the Holy Spirit" is opposed to "having not the Spirit."

On - as on a foundation. Building on THE FAITH is building on Christ, its object.

Praying in the Holy Spirit - (Romans 8:26.) The Holy Spirit teaches what we are to pray for, and how. None can pray aright except by being in the Spirit - i:e., in the elements of His influence. Chrysostom mentions among the Spirit's gifts at the beginning of the New Testament, that of prayer, bestowed on some, who prayed in the name of the rest, and taught others to pray. Their prayers so conceived, and often used, were preserved among Christians; and out of them forms were framed. Such is the origin of liturgies (Hammond).

Verse 21

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

In Jude 1:20-21, Jude combines the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: faith, hope, and love.

Keep yourselves - not in your own strength, but "in the love of God;" i:e., God's love to you and all believers: the only guarantee for their being kept safe. Man needs to watch; but cannot keep himself, unless God in His love keep him.

Looking for - in hope.

The mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ - to be fully manifested at His coming. Mercy is usually attributed to the Father: here to the Son; so entirely one are they.

Verse 22

And of some have compassion, making a difference:

None but those who 'keep themselves' are likely to "save" others.

Have compassion. So 'Aleph (') B read; but A C, Vulgate, etc. [ elengchete (G1651)], 'reprove to their conviction;' 'confute,' so as to convince.

Making a difference. 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, read the accusative for the nominative [ diakrinomenous (G1252) for diakrinomenoi (G1252)], 'when separating themselves' (Wahl), Jude 1:19; or 'when contending with you,' as Jude 1:9.

Verse 23

And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Save with fear. A B 'Aleph ('), Vulgate, have, after 'snatching them out of the fire' (with which cf. Amos 4:11; Zechariah 3:2; 1 Corinthians 3:15: a most narrow escape), a THIRD class, 'and others compassionate (not in C) with (IN) fear.' Three kinds of patients require three kinds of treatment. Ministers and Christians "save" those whom they are the instruments of saving. [ Soozete (G4982), "save," is present; therefore meaning, 'try to save.'] Jude already (Jude 1:9) referred to the passage, Zechariah 3:1-3. The three classes are:

(1) those who contend with you (accusative in oldest Manuscripts.), whom convict;

(2) those as brands already in the fire, of which hell fire is the consummation: these try to save by snatching out;

(3) those who are objects of compassion, whom accordingly compassionate and help, but let not pity degenerate into connivance at their error. Your "compassion" is to be accompanied "with fear" of being defiled by them.

Hating. Hatred has its legitimate field of exercise. Sin is the only thing which God hates; so ought we.

Even the garment - proverbial: avoiding the least contact with sin; hating that which borders on it. As garments of the apostles wrought good in healing (Acts 19:12: cf. the woman with an issue of blood, Matthew 9:20-21), so the garment of sinners metaphorically; i:e., anything brought into contact with their pollution is to be avoided. Compare as to leprosy and other defilements, Leviticus 13:52-57; Leviticus 15:4-17. Anyone touching the garments of those so defiled was excluded, until purified, from religious and civil communion with the sanctified people of Israel. Christians who received at baptism the white garment, in token of purity, are not to defile it by any approach to defiled things.

Verse 24

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

Concluding doxology.

Now - `But.'

You. So 'Aleph (') C, Vulgate; 'us,' A: B in Tischendorf, 'them.' You is in contradistinction to those ungodly men above.

Keep you from falling, [ fulaxai (G5442) aptaistous (G679)] - 'guard ... (so as to be) without falling,' or stumbling.

Faultless, [ amoomous (G299)] - 'blameless.'

Before the presence of his glory - i:e., before Himself, when He shall be revealed in glory.

With exceeding joy, [ en (G1722) agalliasei (G20)] - 'with exultation,' as of those who leap for joy.

Verse 25

To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power,

To the only wise God our Saviour. 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, add, 'through Jesus Christ our Lord.' The transcribers, fancying that "Saviour" applied to Christ alone, omitted the words. To the only God (the Father) who is our Saviour through (i:e., by the mediation of) Jesus Christ our Lord.

Dominion, [ kratos (G2904)] - 'might.'

Power - authority [ exousia (G1849)]; legitimate power. 'Aleph (') A B C, Vulgate, add, 'before all the age' [ pro (G4253) pantos (G3956) tou (G3588) aioonos (G165)], before all time past; 'and now,' as to the present; 'and to all the ages,' i:e., forever, as to the time to come.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jude 1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/jude-1.html. 1871-8.
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